The last station of this trail is the first Sufi institution established and still existing in Jerusalem. Leaving al-Zawiya al-Qiramiyya, head to ‘Aqabat Al-Saraya Street and turn left, until the crossing between Khan al-Zait and Soq al-Attarin, and head towards the Holy Sepulcher Church until you reach the Christian Quarter. Follow the street to its northern end, where al-Khanqa l-Salahiyya is located.
Founder and Location
Sultan Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi (Saladin) is considered the first ruler to take the initiative to establish religious madrassas (Khanqas) in the city of Jerusalem in particular and throughout Palestine in general, when he declared al-Khanqa al-Salahiyya a religious property (Waqf) in 1187 AD (583 H). It is still operating actively in the Christian Quarter until today, at the end of the street named after it: al-Khanqa al-Salahiyya Street, or al-Khanqi for short.
Al-Khanqa’s Religious Endowments
The instrument declaring al-Khanqa a Waqf (religious endowment) is dated in 1189 AD (585 H) and available for researchers. Al-Khanqa had a large real estate endowment, including a public bath, a bakery, stores, a pool, and agricultural land. The sheikhdom of al-Khanqa was a sensitive and important position in the city of Jerusalem.
Architecturally, al-Khanqa is composed of a large entrance built with alternating stone colors (Ablaq), leading to a distributor dirka and to a number of architectural units and an open courtyard. This leads through a staircase to a number of halls, rooms, and a large retreat, where it is said that Saladin sought seclusion and meditation. Sufi activity stopped some time ago in this Khanqa, and it is now a residential complex with a bustling mosque and a kindergarten.